In the field of animation, Disney undisputedly pioneers and still continues to dominate despite the proliferation of competitions. And when we say Disney, some notable cartoon characters pop into our heads, like Mickey and Minnie Mouse, Donald and Daisy Duck, and Pluto. Aside from these original creations, Disney has produced great versions of many well-loved classic fairy tales. It has created faces for many such characters, and whenever we say their names, we immediately perceive their Disney images. Perhaps, the names that are truly very popular and unforgettable are Aurora, Cinderella, Snow White, Ariel, and Belle. Well, let us relive the magic of these five princesses well-loved and adored by young and old alike.
Snow White and the Seven Dwarves. The film is created in 1937 by Walt Disney and is based on the German fairy tale “Snow White” by Brothers Grimm. It was the first full-length animated film produced, the first produced in full colors, and the first to be produced by Walt Disney.
It begins with Snow White running away from her wicked step-mother who tries to kill her. She hides in the woods and later meets and lives with a group of dwarves. Having learned that Snow White is still alive, her step-mother disguises as an old woman selling apples and visits Snow White when the dwarves are out. Snow White does not know that the apples are poisoned. So when she takes a bite of the apple, she falls down and sleeps. And only with the kiss of true love will she wake up and live again.
The movie was well-received back in 1937 and the year after. It opened with a standing ovation by its star-studded audience, including Charlie Chaplin, Shirley Temple, and Judy Garland. It even appeared in the cover of Times Magazine. It was named as “the most successful film of all time” in 1939. More recently, it was the only animated film included in the American Film Institute’s list of the 100 greatest American films of all time by 2007.
Cinderella. Twelfth in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series, Cinderella opened in 1950 and became a great commercial success. It is based on Charles Perrault’s fairy tale entitled “Cendrillon”. The movie is about a girl who through her misfortunes has somehow found the one true love.
After the death of her father, Cinderella has been ordered around by her wicked step-mother and step-sisters. She does all the house chores – washing the dishes, cleaning the whole house, doing the laundry, and even mending. Then one day, the King invited all eligible maidens to a ball so that the Prince can find the appropriate girl. Her step-mother prevented Cinderella from attending the party, but despite it all, a fairy godmother arrives and saves the day for Cinderella. But there is one glitch – she must be home before midnight for the magic shall expire. Fortunately, she manages to be back before twelve, after a long dance with the Prince, and after she runs away and leaves behind her one glass shoe. Will she see her Prince Charming again?
There must have been real magic with Cinderella. This was Disney’s second huge hit, after Snow White and the Seven Dwarves which was produced more than a decade earlier. Accordingly, the film saved Disney studio from closing down for it was already heavily in debt. It enabled Disney to carry on creating more films, establish his own distribution company, and enter television production. Moreover, the film received numerous awards and nominations, including three from Academy. In 2008, the American Film Institute acknowledged Cinderella as the 9th greatest film in the animation genre.
Sleeping Beauty. Created in 1959, Sleeping Beauty is about a beautiful princess who can only be awakened with a kiss by her Prince Charming from a very long sleep. It is based on the fairy tale “La Belle au bois dormant” by Charles Perrault.
In this story, a newly born baby, Princess Aurora, is cursed by a wicked witch – that on her 16th birthday, Aurora would prick her finger and die. But some good fairies manage to lessen the curse. Despite their precautions, the wicked witch catches up with Aurora. On her 16th birthday, the wicked witch successfully harbors an evil plan. When Aurora pricks her finger, she falls into a deep sleep, and so do the whole kingdom. And the only way to bring her back to life is with the kiss of true love. Does she get the kiss and wake up?
Amazingly, Sleeping Beauty did not rest only on commercial and entertainment value. In 1960, the music for the film has been nominated for the Academy and Grammy Awards. In 1980, it was awarded the Best Musical Entertainment by the Young Artist Award.
In 2010, Disney began producing a live-action adaptation of the animated film. It will feature Nikki Reed as Beauty and Gregg Sulkin as Prince Corvon. Tentatively, the release date would be June 2012.
The Little Mermaid. I suppose whenever we hear the movie’s title, we imagine the beautiful mermaid with large sparkling eyes dancing to the beat of “Under the Sea” by her friend Sebastian the crab…
Released in 1989, the movie is based on Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale “The Little Mermaid.” It is about the quest of a little mermaid named Ariel to be a human. Ever since she was a child, Ariel has been curious about the world above the ocean, wanting to see how humans live. One day, she comes across a handsome prince who has been shipwrecked. After that, she eagerly dreams of becoming a human so she can be together with her prince. Until one day, she discovers the solution and goes to see the sorcerer Ursula. But everything has not gone exactly as she had planned and bargained with Ursula. So what has been the price of Ariel’s desire to be a human?
The Little Mermaid is the 28th film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics series and commercially one of the most successful. It has brought back life to the art of animated films after several such films became critical or commercial failures in the 1980s. In Rotten Tomatoes, the film received 90% approval rating. The success of the movie lies in its lush colors and effects, excellent musical scoring and mixing, and its overall appeal to general audience, specifically the young ones. It gathered numerous awards and nominations from different bodies, including the Academy and Golden Globes Awards.
Beauty and the Beast. Based on Jeanne-Marie Le Prince de Beaumont’s fairy tale “La Belle et la Bête,” the animated film was released in 1991 by Walt Disney Pictures. It tells the love story of a mean Beast and his beautiful prisoner Belle…
When her Dad was captured and imprisoned by a beast, Belle is left with no choice but to offer herself in his place. The Beast agrees to this bargain. Consequently, Belle learns that the Beast was actually a prince who was cursed long ago for his selfishness by an old woman. Belle feels compassion for him and comes to care for him despite his pretense of meanness. Little did she know that to become a prince again, the Beast must love Belle and win her love in return.
Beauty and the Beast is the thirtieth film in the Walt Disney Animated Classics. It is one of the most-awarded and most critically-praised animated films by Disney. It is the first of the only three animated films to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture (the others are Disney-Pixar’s 2009 film Up and 2010 film Toy Story 3). It lost the award to the critically-acclaimed thriller “The Silence of the Lambs”. But in the Golden Globes, it won the Best Motion Picture for Musical or Comedy. The theme song for the movie, “Beauty and the Beast”, is well-recognized as well as it won several awards including those in Grammy. Rotten Tomatoes gave the movie an approval rating of 94%. In 2008, the American Film Institute named the film as the 7th best animated film.